I’ll admit it, I saw that the Red Sox might add Matt Albers and felt pretty unmoved. Go on and check out his career numbers, and let me know what would get you excited. Not the 5.11 career ERA, right? Maybe his peripherals look a lot better? Nope, 5.84 K/9, 4.23 BB/9, 1.38 K/BB. Fielding Independent? Ehhh, 4.69 FIP, 4.81 xFIP. His most similar B-Ref comps are Nelson Cruz and Byron McLaughlin.
Nonetheless, there are a whole bunch of smart people who seem excited about the guy. There were the posts Matt linked to from SoSH this morning. I had a conversation with a friend in baseball who talked about some of the things that the data bears out. Albers is pounding the strike zone with movement and even adding velo. He induces a whole bunch of grounders.
The following chart courtesy of once-and-future (we hope) Beacon contributor Kil (@RedSoxStats on Twitter) shows what sort of jump he made in the second half of last season.
Also, remember that he was a Baltimore Oriole, which means that he had to pitch against the very best lineups in baseball for much of the season. Nearly a third of his 2010 workload came against the Yanks and Sox and his numbers were very good against both clubs. He’s 28 and improving and the Red Sox aren’t committing much to him. It’s an all upside sort of move with very little risk as far as Boston’s concerned.
Photo credit: AP